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Walter Paisley (Dick Miller) is a busboy in a beatnik café, and he is
naive enough to believe everything the self-absorbed wannabe-artist
customers of the café are saying, especially concerning art. And one day,
walter wants to be an artist too,a nd he tries his best to make a work of
art out of clay, but to no avail, he simply hasn't got what it takes. Then
though he accidently stabs the cat of his landlady (Myrtle Vail), and to
cover up his accident, he covers up the cat in clay and claims it to be a
piece of art ... and wouldn't you know it, the beatnik crowd actually
likes it, especially his boss Leonard (Antony Carbone), Walter's love
interest Carla (Barboura Morris), and beatnik poet Maxwell (Julian Burton)
- and sudenly Walter is the talk of the town, only when he is asked to do
another sculpture, he is somehow hard-pressed, simply because he hasn't
got another dead cat ...
Then though, a cop (Bert Convy) finds heroin on Walter (which was
handed to him by a customer at the café without him knowing what it is),
and Walter, finding himself cornered, kills the cop in self-defense, so to
speak - and makes him into his next sculpture, to the amazement of
everyone - except for his boss Leonard who has since found out what
Walter's sculptures are made of and has suggested to him to try his hands
on abstract forms.
Soon enough, Walter has made a few more
statues (and has become more self assured with every murder), when Leonard
decides to end it all and promises Walter a big show (how this is going to
end it all though is beyond me). Just before the show though, Walter
proposes to Carla and she turns him down - which is when he proposes to
make a sculpture out of her as well. Carla agrees to it, but when she
finds out what making a sculpture out of her actually means, she
runs away in shock - and he after her. Meanwhile though at the show, the
whole audience has found out what Walter's sculptures are made of, and
suddenly a lynchmob is after him, made up of exactly the same people who
adored him only minutes ago. Walter though is suddenly plagued by his
conscience that makes him hear the voices of his victims, and eventually,
these voices drive him to suicide by hanging - but not before he has
covered himself in clay to make himself his own masterpiece ...
back-to-back with (the more successful) Little
Shop of Horrors, A Bucket of Blood is a macabre but
likeable cheap little horror comedy that pokes wonderful fun at the
beatnik art movement without ever becoming plain silly. True the film
isn't perfect (which has nothing to do with the low budget which seems to
work for the movie rather than against it), its screenplay doesn't seem to
be entirely thought through and at times Walter seems to be a bit too
idiotic, but that said, the film is still great fun and features some of
Roger Corman's ensemble actors giving some of their greatest performances
and fan favourite Dick Miller in a rare lead, and in its own way, the film
is completely enjoyable.